Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection - Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Blu-ray Review
Written by ZigZag
Blu-ray released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Written and directed by Tom McLoughlin
1986, Region A, 86 minutes, Rated R
Blu-ray released on September 13th, 2013
Thom Matthews as Tommy
Jennifer Cooke as Megan
C.J. Graham as Jason
David Kagen as Sheriff Garris
Vinnie Guastaferro as Deputy Rick Cologne
Tony Goldwyn as Darren
Tom Fridley as Cort
Darcy DeMoss as Nikki
Kerry Noonan as Paula
Renee Jones as Sissy
Ron Pallilo as Hobbs
Tommy Jarvis has had enough of Jason Voorhees running around in his head and is going to settle things once and for all. First stop the cemetery, where the plan is to dig the old bastard up and torch his dusty bones. Upon seeing his nemesis however, Tommy flips out and begins stabbing the corpse with a metal fence post. Lightning strikes, and faster than you can scream "Sweet Zombie Jesus!" the man behind the mask is risen from the dead and ready to make up for lost killing time. It is fun to note that everything bad that follows is Tommy's fault. Had he just left it alone and taken his meds, everything would have been fine. Instead he has just opened the door to six more sequels!
Realizing this was a bad idea Tommy runs to the local police and immediately pisses off Sheriff Garrett with all his crazy talk about the walking dead. It would appear that since Tommy has been parked at the local psych ward, the town has tried its best to move on and downplay Jason as an urban legend. The timing for Jason's return is further complicated as the camp has reopened and is expecting a busload of young kids later today! Tommy does his best to correct the biggest mistake of his life before Jason can get back to doing what he does best. Needless to say, Tommy is a little late in saving the day and the bodies continue to pile up at the campgrounds.
It is rare for a franchise to make it six episodes deep and rebound as successfully as Friday the 13th did with Jason Lives. After shitting the bed with A New Beginning, the producers were looking to bring in fresh talent and were open to anything with only two requirements: Jason had to come back and you could not make fun of him. Writer/ director Tom McLoughlin (One Dark Night) successfully brings the series around with one of the best-looking Jason flicks yet. Thanks to the work of cinematographer Jon Kranhouse (Kickboxer), the film takes on a Gothic appearance rich with atmosphere and composer Harry Manfredini returns with an even better variation on his score.
McLoughlin proves capable of delivering some genuinely suspenseful moments, like when Jason lingers just outside someone's peripheral vision or toys with a victim before moving in for the kill. The fast-moving script returns to basics with a campground setting and ups the ante by introducing elements of action, comedy and even features a large group of young campers. The idea of bringing children into the mix on this scale is pretty impressive and helps elevate the tension in the third act. McLoughlin strikes the right balance of comedy, including jokes and sight gags that actually make the story more entertaining. His confidence in the director's chair is impressive as this film features little gore and zero nudity, but he keeps things entertaining without relying on the usual pair of crutches.
The cast is pretty solid, especially David Kagen (Body Chemistry) as Sheriff Garris, a responsible adult looking out for his daughter and his community. Thom Matthews (Return of the Living Dead) is a terrific choice to play the heroic lead in this kind of film and is actually charming as he tries to deny his feelings for the sheriff's daughter. Jennifer Cooke (from the TV series V) is instantly likeable as Megan, the love interest, and really shines in her scenes with the young campers. C.J. Graham steps into Jason's shoes with a commanding take on the character. His movements appear more like a killing machine and add an unsettling dynamic to the faceless monster.
By 1986, Jason had become a star in his own right and McLoughlin moves him front and center for this outing. "Zombie Jason" is bulletproof, fireproof and it is going to take some assistance from the occult to make him stay down. The supernatural element will remain for the rest of the franchise, marking a distinct difference from the first half of the series. This development is buffered with several welcome distractions as the film also introduces car chases and a rockin' soundtrack from Alice Cooper.
Reflections from Behind the Mask (may contain spoilers):
Jason Lives dispatches with the Final Girl angle and switches thing up with the Final Couple approach. Tommy and Megan work together and live happily ever after. This scenario would repeat through each installment for the rest of the series.
If Tommy has been in mental hospitals since he was 12...when did he learn to drive a truck?
I think it would have been awesome if Zombie Jason had taken on the traits of a traditional cinematic zombie and eaten the brains of his victims. How completely terrifying would that shit be for the Final Girl to walk into a room a Jason has not only killed her friends, but is sitting there eating their remains?!
This is the first film since Part 2 to actually mention that it is happening on Friday the 13th.
The novelization of the film includes the original ending (discussed in the special features of this disc) in which Jason's father makes an appearance and sets up for a new wave of vengeance. The idea was scrapped before it was filmed, but it would have been a nice alternative for future sequels.
This film marks the end of the Tommy Jarvis trilogy that includes The Final Chapter and A New Beginning. Tommy is the only character to face Jason multiple times and live happily ever after. However, the residents of this universe still have Tommy to thank for bringing their worst nightmare back to life and allowing him to kill for decades to come. Way to go Jarvis – you are king of the dipshits.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features for this collection will be discussed on the final page of this review.
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